Stewart Cink qualified for next week’s U.S. Open on Monday and kept it going in the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Cink carded nine birdies while posting a 6-under-par 64 to tie for the lead with Matt Every, Scott Brown and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn.
“I’m playing pretty good golf, hitting some nice shots,” said Cink, who won the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry for the last of his six PGA Tour victories. “I’m not trying to do everything perfect, I’m just trying to get the best out of my game.
“The key to my round today was the key to anyone’s round who plays well here and that is you’ve got to keep the ball in front of you. Meaning, you don’t have to hit every fairway, but you can’t really be off too much. … It’s fun and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
The 24-year-old Munoz, who won the 2016 Club Colombia Championship on the Web.com Tour, missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the final round that would have given him the outright lead, but had a bogey-free 64.
Every, whose only PGA Tour victories came in the 2014 and 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational, sank a 10-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole in his bogey-free 64, while Brown collected eight birdies, including four in a row while finishing the front nine.
Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, the 2011 Masters champion, birdied four of the first five holes en route to a 65 and is tied for fifth with Matt Jones of Australia, who birdied three of the last four.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa had three late birdies in a 66 and is tied for seventh with Chez Reavie, while 2013 FedEx St. Jude champ Harris English posted a 67 with John Huh of Los Angeles and Cal State Northridge, Chad Campbell, Grayson Murray and Peter Malnati.
Phil Mickelson, who has tied for second twice at TPC Southwind including last year, is tied for 29th at 69, defending champion Daniel Berger is tied for 48th at 70, Adam Scott of Australia is tied for 65th at 71, and ninth-ranked Rickie Fowler is tied for 123rd after a 74.